Zanzibar information

Stone Town Discovery Tour

For centuries, Zanzibar has been shaped by ideals, influences and rulers from far overseas, each adding to its fusion character – and nowhere is this clearer than in Stone Town. Gaining an understanding of these myriad cultural forces can be challenging, but doing so is thoroughly worthwhile. Take a wander through Stone Town’s maze of alleyways with an erudite Zanzibari resident, meeting with the locals, marvelling at its fusion of architecture and cultures, learning about the food, music, beliefs and everyday life, for an utterly fascinating experience.

The Details

Your Stone Town tour will focus on exploring the city’s UNESCO World Heritage centre with a highly knowledgeable and engaging Zanzibari guide – spending time focusing on aspects that interest you most, be that traditional medicine, cuisine, the role of women, the structure of education, architecture, the social lives hidden in concealed courtyards, or any number of questions that may arise as you journey past the more well-known landmarks and the hidden gems.

These trips are relaxed and free-flowing, feeling very much like an exploration with an old friend, taking you to places to pique your interest and make your trip as enjoyable as possible. Visit an atmospheric dispensary, still very much in use, to learn about traditional herbal remedies; walk over to Stone Town’s Anglican Cathedral to see the slave pits and hear of Zanzibar’s role in the slave trade. After this you may wander through the narrow streets to the ruins of the Old Fort, located on Stone Town’s waterfront and built on the ruins of a Portuguese church, or perhaps you’ll meet family jewellers cutting tanzanite gemstones before heading to Forodhani Gardens and the House of Wonders, the first building in Zanzibar to have electricity. Experience the market without being harassed, whilst your guide will likely have you taste the seasonal fruits on offer, offer some culinary advice, and educate you on the many local uses for the array of spices on sale. Watch local craftsmen hammering brass details into Zanzibari chests or restoring Stone Town’s famous carved wooden doors, share Arabic style tea or coffee and hear about Swahili society.

In our opinion, learning about both this city’s history and its modern challenges, its residents hopes and ambitions, and having the opportunity to genuinely engage with this community and your guide is one of the finest Stone Town pastimes, and comes highly recommended as a way to better enjoy and understand this city and its people.

Start time and location: Most tours start at 09:00, however, as every element of this excursion is designed around you, it is possible to start later in the morning, or even the afternoon if you wished.

Duration of excursion: The Stone Town Discovery tour typically lasts around two hours, but this can be flexible. In our experience, it is very easy for this to overrun.

End location: The tour will end at your hotel, however there is also the (highly recommended) option to end with a local family, enjoying a home-cooked Zanzibari meal.

Max people on tour: Each guide can take a maximum of six people per tour. This is a private tour, and will be booked exclusively for your party.

Your Guide: The hand-picked guides that we work with are, we believe, Stone Town’s best and are able to give real insights into the island’s history and people on many different levels. They were all born and brought up in Zanzibar, and live in the Stone Town community themselves, and so are uniquely placed to help you interact with its residents and understand its culture, both modern and ancient.